Tiger, Scott, McIlroy provide few first-round fireworks
Friday, June 14, 2013
ARDMORE, Pa. –– Merion Golf Club did not prove to be as easy as 1-2-3.
At least not for the world's top three players.
Tiger Woods missed prime birdie opportunities from within 12 feet at Nos. 15 and 16 en route to a 3-over 73, six shots off the current lead held by Phil Mickelson. Woods steadied a bit on Friday morning, missing only one fairway over his final seven holes, the par-4 12th, which he bogeyed.
"It's one of those golf courses where there's some easy holes and there's some hard holes that follow. And you got to take care of the easy holes and try and get through the hard ones," said Woods. "And for some reason I left myself quite a bit of, quite a few putts in there where they were easily makeable and I didn't make any.
"It's unbelievable how much faster [the greens] were this morning."
Woods was seen flexing his arm multiple times on Thursday afternoon, leading people to believe he was injured. He showed few signs of an injury on Friday morning.
"My left arm didn't feel very good on that shot. A few shots," said Woods.
It is the sixth time in the last seven years that Woods opened the U.S. Open with an over-par round. That includes a 1-over 72 at the 2008 U.S. Open, which he won in a playoff.
His playing competitors struggled mightily as Merion showed its teeth on Friday morning.
Adam Scott slipped from 2 under at the outset of his round Thursday to 2 over at the end of it. McIlroy went from even to a 3-over 73.
Scott hit his tee ball out of bounds at the slender par-4 15th, leading to a double bogey that dropped him out of red figures. He added another bogey on a three-putt at the par-3 17th after being the only player to hit the green in regulation.
McIlroy showed glimpses of some struggle on Thursday evening with a three-putt bogey on No. 11, and his troubles continued on Friday, coming up short of the green on No. 15 that led to bogey, needing two chips to get to the green on the par-3 17th that led to another bogey and then found a bunker with his approach at the long par-4 18th, sending his bunker shot 20 feet past after nearly flying it in and two-putting for bogey.
Yet, with scores continue to slip further and further over par, all three are currently inside the top 60, which will be the cut line, likely determined late Saturday morning after the second round concludes.